Introduction

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US Air Force (USAF) Technical Sergeant (TSGT) Mark Getsy, 506th Air Expeditionary Group, 2003. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The ubiquity of digital camera phones in the twenty-first century has blurred the lines between image creation and communication. Rapidly evolving technological advancements that allow for more images to be stored at high qualities on small devices have made it possible for people to carry massive photographic archives right on their smart phones, and then share them via social media.

Before the digital photography revolution, photographs were taken more sparingly. Milestone events, like birthday parties, graduations ceremonies, and family reunions, were more likely to be shot than ordinary day-to-day subjects. However, with the widespread use of camera phones, everything from the significant to the minute can be documented in real time and then shared with the entire world.